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$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

May 14, 2010 |
posted by Ana White
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Cedar raised bed make gardening easier, more accessible, more economical, and more efficient. But often a cedar raised bed can cost hundreds of dollars. With this plan, I figured out how to create raised cedar beds - deep ones - for about $10 each.

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

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About Project

Author Notes: 

UPDATE: Here's those cedar beds I built for $10 bucks each . . . just before the moose ate the entire garden  :(  I can't rave enough about these beds, my garden was amazing and super low maintenance.  BUILD THESE.  It's a must build.

A while back while shopping at the Blue Store - AKA Lowes - shopping for mortar and grout and stuff for our river rock stone veneer for the face of our house, I happened to smell some cedar.

And I love the smell of cedar.  So I followed my nose to a pile of dogeared 1x6s on special for $1.59 each. 


$1.59 each.

$1.59 Each for a 1x6, 6' Long.  That's 1/3 the cost of pine 1x6s.  And granted, these were fence pickets and the corners were tapered off, but that's only the top inch.

And yes, the were 5/8" thick instead of 6/8" (or 3/4"), but I was okay with not paying 10 times as much to get my corners back and an 1/8" of thickness.  Besides, I had a specific use in mind for these fence pickets.

image from Living the Country Life

As a child, my mother fed us on a garden she grew. Nine children.  And I can less than fondly remember that garden, the size of a football field, and each of us kids had a row the length of a football field to keep weed free.  So the thought of a raised garden, much easier to maintain and more effective, efficient and warmer (because warm is an issue in Alaska).  And much easier on our backs.

image from Kiwicreativeinc

image from Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens has a complete slideshow of the benefits of a raised garden here.

I especially loved these long an thing raised beds because they made sense to me - no reaching for weeds and each plant gets full sun.  And I could line them up in rows, label each bed, and Gracie could get her very own row (except we'll try to make Grace's gardening fun and not all work).

So I bought six boards for a grand total of $9.54, and went home and somehow found 20 minutes to build this

Not bad for $10. And naturally weather resistant cedar too!  For a planter, you want to use natural wood because treated lumber releases odors and chemical that you don't want mixed in with your food.  And cedar naturally resists rot and insects, so a great choice for planters.

This planter also resists rot and insets, is just under $10.  But I think you are going to be okay with a little elbow grease (and a lot of burned calories) to get this:

I haven't found the time to finish the planter (and may choose to leave them natural) but I wanted to share this project with you right away because I'm not sure how long these boards will be marked down.  And I'm not sure how long these boards will be on the shelf - I just called in an order for 150 boards.

Of course, you can build a different size, lower sides, or even planters with enclosed bottoms.  And I also thought that these boards would make great siding boards for our playhouse.


$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds
Dimensions are shown above.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

6 Cedar Fence Pickets
1″ Screws
2″ Screws
Wood Glue
Finishing Supplies

measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
circular saw
table saw

Cut List

Cut List: 

4 – 1×6 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Side Panels, you can trim the dog ear off and work with a 71″ Fence post)
8 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 11″ (Corner Posts)
4 – 1×6 Fence Pickets @ 17 3/4″ (End Panels)
2 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 72″ (Top Trim, I used the non-dogeared ones from the center of the cuts)
2 – 1×2 Fence Pickets @ 19″ (Top Trim, Ends)

General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step. Predrill and countersink your screw holes. Be safe, especially with the table saw, and have fun.

Step 1

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Rip your Corner Posts
In 160 Plan Posts, I’ve never asked you to rip anything. And I’m dreading asking you to rip this fence post. But I’ve done the math, and by ripping one fence post into 4 – 1 1/4″ wide strips, you are saving quite a bit of money (well, that is, if you intend to build a garden full of planters). So set your tablesaw to 1 1/4″ and rip one of the fence posts to 1 1/4″ wide, as shown above. If you don’t have a table saw, you can use 1×2 cedar boards, but you will need to add 1/2″ to the final top trim boards on the ends. And you are going to have to shell out an extra few bucks.

Step 2

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Side Panels
Use your 1″ screws and glue to put together your side panels as shown above. The post will overextend the sides by 5/8″ as shown above. I also used my Kreg Jig™ to join the boards together in the center, and you can do this too. But I feel like my planters are too “flat” and had I not joined the boards in the center, the planter would be more rustic.

Step 3

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

End Panels
Build your end panels exactly like your side panels.

Step 4

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Assembling the Panels
The panels should fit together like a puzzle. Fasten with 2″ screws and glue. Check for square.

Step 5

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

End Top Edges
Finish the end top edges just like you did the sides. If you used 1x2s measuring 1 1/2″ wide, you will need to measure and cut this board to the planters dimensions.

Finishing Instructions

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inexpensive planter boxes

Thank you for these plans! I teach Environmental Science at a high school in Houston, TX, and I have my kids plan and plant a garden when we get to our food and agriculture part of the curriculum. These boxes will be great for keeping the weeds down, and I am planning on making a few with bottoms and up on supports for the one student I have this year who's in a wheelchair.

We have no budget for the garden, so everything comes out of my pocket (which is usually the case for teachers.)
I was desperate to find something affordable so she could be involved with everyone else, and these boxes will make that possible now. Again, many, many thanks!!!

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posted by zuraxe | on Thu, 2013-06-13 23:24

Natural raised beds

Thank you for providing this great and useful post.Gardening is my hobby and I like to plant different flowers and vegetables.These natural rustic raised beds are great and they fit well in my garden.I've already bought all the necessary tools in order to build it and I've also bought a Toro snow blower as it is very useful in the winter season.

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Your site contains useful

Your site contains useful information on this topic as I am working on a school project. Thank you posting relative information and its now becoming easier to complete this topic.
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posted by grant91loz | on Sat, 2013-03-02 13:58

Awesome tutorial Ana, if you

Awesome tutorial Ana, if you can call it that... I will try to build one myself...

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posted by ehtess8j | on Fri, 2013-03-08 22:50

I wonder how would these beds

I wonder how would these beds work for my flowers, I would love to actually see them bloom one summer! I've seen these amazing flowers at a Log Cabin Florist and I've always wondered what was their secret, I bet these beds would make the difference in my case!

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posted by majo49rray | on Thu, 2013-04-25 12:06

Did you considered using some

Did you considered using some type of a finish layer, for protecting from sun and weather overall? I think you can be using some natural wax, because most of the other protective uv and waterproof have all some chemicals that leaves traces of it to the soil. http://binaereoptionenbroker.blogspot.com

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NitePagan's picture

Raised Cedar Beds

I built cedar raised beds out of cedar decking, 3 pieces 5/4" x 6" x 8', actual dimensions were 1" x 5.5" x 8', plus 1 - 2 x 4 cedar. I made 48" x 96" boxes. I cut 1 of the cedar deck pieces into 2 - 48" long pieces. For the corners, I cut the 2 x 4 into 8 - 5.5" long pieces. I then screwed 2 of the 2 x 4 pieces together to form a 4 x 4 block. I used these as the inside corner to screw the decking to. The total cost was $60 to build 2 cedar beds. The other option would have been to make them double height, by cutting the 2 x 4's 11 inches long. This is more expensive then the boxes Ana did, but I could not find cedar fence slats, they appeared to be Northern White Pine which would have deteriorated quickly.

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posted by artistu1991 | on Fri, 2013-07-12 10:17

any issues with larger versions bowing?

Great design! I am building these at a larger size for a veggie garden: 17 inches tall (three rows) and 42 inches wide. I am wondering if anyone has trouble with these boxes bowing out in the middle from the weight of the soil inside?

posted by AJdesigns | on Sun, 2013-11-17 01:04
iowachap's picture


I do not really get using wood glue for this. Personally I will omit the glue, if I were to use any type of adhesion I would use something more like indoor/outdoor super strength liquid nails. This is a great plan and I am planning on putting some together probably this weekend. Will post photos. I found the cedar fence boards at Orange box near me, I checked the Blue box and they do not have cedar.

posted by iowachap | on Thu, 2014-03-06 02:43

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